A primary motivation of our research is the monitoring of physical, physiological, and biochemical parameters - in any environment and without activity restriction and behaviour modification - through using miniaturised, wireless Body Sensor Networks (BSN). Key research issues that are currently being addressed include novel sensor designs, ultra-low power microprocessor and wireless platforms, energy scavenging, biocompatibility, system integration and miniaturisation, processing-on-node technologies combined with novel ASIC design, autonomic sensor networks and light-weight communication protocols. Our research is aimed at addressing the future needs of life-long health, wellbeing and healthcare, particularly those related to demographic changes associated with an ageing population and patients with chronic illnesses. This research theme is therefore closely aligned with the IGHI’s vision of providing safe, effective and accessible technologies for both developed and developing countries.
Some of our latest works were exhibited at the 2015 Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.
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Journal articleBarbot A, Power M, Seichepine F, et al., 2020,
Actuators at the tip of a sub-millimetric catheter could facilitatein vivointer-ventional procedures at cellular scales by enabling tissue biopsy, manipulationor supporting active micro-optics. However the dominance of frictional forcesat this scale makes classical mechanism problematic. In this paper, we reportthe design of a micro-scale piston, with a maximum dimension of 150μm,fabricated with two-photon lithography onto the tip of 140μm diameter cap-illaries. An oil drop method is used to create a seal between the piston andthe cylinder which prevents any leakage below 185 mbar pressure differencewhile providing lubricated friction between moving parts. This piston gener-ates forces that increase linearly with pressure up to 130μN without breakingthe liquid seal. The practical value of the design is demonstrated with its inte-gration with a micro-gripper that can grasp, move and release 50μm micro-spheres. Such a mechanism opens the way to micron-size catheter actuation.
Journal articleKim JA, Wales D, Thompson A, et al., 2020,
This study presents a novel fiber-optic surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) probe (SERS-on-a-tip) fabricated using a simple, two-step protocol based on off-the-shelf components and materials, with a high degree of controllability and repeatability. Two-photon polymerization and subsequent metallization was adopted to fabricate a range of SERS arrays on both planar substrates and end-facets of optical fibers. For the SERS-on-a-tip probes, a limit of detection of 10-7 M (Rhodamine 6G) and analytical enhancement factors of up to 1300 were obtained by optimizing the design, geometry and alignment of the SERS arrays on the tip of the optical fiber. Furthermore, strong repeatability and consistency were achieved for the fabricated SERS arrays, demonstrating that the technique may be suitable for large-scale fabrication procedures in the future. Finally, rapid SERS detection of live Escherichia coli cells was demonstrated using integration times in the milliseconds to seconds range. This result indicates strong potential for in vivo diagnostic use, particularly for detection of infections. Moreover, to the best of our knowledge, this represents the first report of detection of live, unlabeled bacteria using a fiber-optic SERS probe.
Journal articleVarghese RJ, Lo BPL, Yang G-Z, 2020,
Design and prototyping of a bio-inspired kinematic sensing suit for the shoulder joint: precursor to a multi-DoF shoulder exosuit, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, Vol: 5, Pages: 540-547, ISSN: 2377-3766
Soft wearable robots represent a promising new design paradigm for rehabilitation and active assistance applications. Their compliant nature makes them ideal for complex joints, but intuitive control of these robots require robust and compliant sensing mechanisms. In this work, we introduce the sensing framework for a multiple degrees-of-freedom shoulder exosuit capable of sensing the kinematics of the joint. The proposed sensing system is inspired by the body's embodied kinematic sensing, and the organisation of muscles and muscle synergies responsible for shoulder movements. A motion-capture-based evaluation study of the developed framework confirmed conformance with the behaviour of the muscles that inspired its routing. This validation of the tendon-routing hypothesis allows for it to be extended to the actuation framework of the exosuit in the future. The sensor-to-joint-space mapping is based on multivariate multiple regression and derived using an Artificial Neural Network. Evaluation of the derived mapping achieved root mean square error of ≈5.43° and ≃3.65° for the azimuth and elevation joint angles measured over 29,500 frames (4+ minutes) of motion-capture data.
Journal articleKiziroglou M, Temelkuran B, Yeatman E, et al., 2020,
Many motion-active materials have recently emerged, with new methods of integration into actuator components and systems-on-chip. Along with established microprocessors, interconnectivity capabilities and emerging powering methods, they offer a unique opportunity for the development of interactive millimeter and micrometer scale systems with combined sensing and actuating capabilities. The amplification of nanoscale material motion to a functional range is a key requirement for motion interaction and practical applications, including medical micro-robotics, micro-vehicles and micro-motion energy harvesting. Motion amplification concepts include various types of leverage, flextensional mechanisms, unimorphs, micro-walking /micro-motor systems, and structural resonance. A review of the research state-of-art and product availability shows that the available mechanisms offer a motion gain in the range of 10. The limiting factor is the aspect ratio of the moving structure that is achievable in the microscale. Flexures offer high gains because they allow the application of input displacement in the close vicinity of an effective pivotal point. They also involve simple and monolithic fabrication methods allowing combination of multiple amplification stages. Currently, commercially available motion amplifiers can provide strokes as high as 2% of their size. The combination of high-force piezoelectric stacks or unimorph beams with compliant structure optimization methods is expected to make available a new class of high-performance motion translators for microsystems.
Journal articleRanque P, George C, Dubey RK, et al., 2020,
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